4 Yoga-Based Humanitarian Initiatives Making a Difference in the World

Practicing yoga can transform and change us on many levels and in many ways. Yoga can foster patience, acceptance, self-love, compassion, empathy, gratitude and other qualities. Yogis all over the world are applying the principles found in yoga and nurturing these attributes within themselves by reaching out to others and finding opportunities to serve locally and internationally.

Such acts of service can have a ripple effect and in turn transform individuals and communities. As Robert F. Kennedy said, “Each time a man [or woman] stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”

Looking within our own circle of friends, family, relatives, colleagues and neighbors, we can see great need. The media is replete with suffering and sadness around the world. It can seem overwhelming, but as Margaret Mead (a women’s rights activist) once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

The possibilities and opportunities to serve are endless and infinite. In response, yogis are creating and developing new initiatives and programs to empower, strengthen, heal, support, and serve others.
Here are 4 yoga-based humanitarian initiatives that provide opportunities to link yoga and international humanitarian service:

Africa Yoga Project

With more than 100 yoga instructors trained and teaching in Kenya, the Africa Yoga Project has grown to create a wide community of yoga practitioners of all ages. It also provides a marketable skill and potential source of income to the in-country instructors. There are opportunities to fundraise and travel to Kenya as a volunteer with the project. africayogaproject.org



The Himalayan Institute

This organization has several ongoing humanitarian projects and has worked in India, Tibet, Mexico and Africa to strengthen communities, improve public health, and provide educational services. The Institute offers spiritual excursions that focus on Yoga in Action, self-study, and small group travel. Follow the Institute’s blog to stay updated and get involved. himalayanintitute.org




Off the Mat and into the World

This group has fundraised for various humanitarian projects from Cambodia to Uganda as part of its Seva Challenge (Seva in Sanskrit means selfless service). This year, the Seva Challenge is focused on women’s rights issues in Kenya. Read more about it here. offthematandintotheworld.org



Yoga Ventures

Yoga Ventures leads humanitarian-focused trips that include a daily yoga practice and opportunities to serve in communities and schools. Volunteer for projects in Haiti, Ecuador or Jamaica. YogaVentures.org
Now, the question and challenge for each of us is this: what will we take from our practice to change the world around us for the better? There are no limits to our potential, creativity, compassion, capacity and light. Each of us has something to offer, something to share. Namaste.

Please share with us any similar projects or initiatives in the comment section below – thank you!

Featured image: africayogaproject.org

This article has been read 930 times. Share it and spread the love!


wonderful comments!

Bobbie Jo Traut

Bobbie Jo Traut discovered yoga as a teenager growing up in Alaska. She practiced on a purple mat in her living room, since there were no studios at that time in her small hometown. As a RYT and frequent traveler, she takes every opportunity to roll out her mat. Her most memorable teaching experiences include a hatha practice for humanitarian volunteers on a mountaintop in Nepal and community vinyasa at an arts center in Chisinau, Moldova.

Explore our on-demand
yoga and fitness classes.
See the Classes

Psst. Every class you take helps
plant a food-producing tree.

Yoga is our passion. Your health and wellness is our obsession.


Send this to a friend
Follow us on Close

Already have an account? Login

Create an Account

New to site? Create an Account

- OR -


Lost password?